Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party

& Other Stories by Le Kendall

1.3 Rules, Written and Unwritten

Alan Sebastian

I’ve always done pretty well at school. Mostly it was because I didn’t have much else to do.

I didn’t really have real friends, before Scott. Just Michelle. But I did have imaginary ones.

I remember when I was five I had a a few of them and we’d play cars on the staircase of my house. They were all named Alan and we used middle names to tell each other apart. Alan Keith. Alan James. And me, Alan Sebastian.

I’ve always found it difficult to talk to people. I don’t know what they’ll say or do and it’s stressful for me. Everyone else seems to be working from a set of social rules I didn’t get the manual for.

Scott is unpredictable and impulsive but somehow it’s okay. He explains to me that nobody else really knows what’s going on either or what other people will say or do. They’re just making it up.

But school was okay. I had the rules written in a book. I made lists of things and ticked them off. I read a lot of books. I tried writing stories a few times but I don’t know that I ever showed anyone until I showed Scott.

“You’re good at everything,” he’d said. But he says that a lot.

When I was younger I sometimes assumed people knew everything that I did. So I waited for someone to tell me I was good at writing the way they told me I was good at science and encouraged me to do more of it. I always got good marks for creative writing in primary school but nobody ever encouraged me to write more. So I concluded that it wasn’t one of my strengths and stopped doing so much of it.

Looking back I think I think probably nobody ever even knew I was that interested.

People just assumed I’d keep doing maths and sciences. So that’s what I did.

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